1980s Halloween Movie Costumes for Women

Updated April 17, 2017

At an '80s Halloween party, you're likely to see scores of women dressed as Madonna or Cyndi Lauper for the occasion. While costumes from music pop culture are popular, the movies of the 1980s provide an even wider array of potential Halloween costumes for women. Dressing up as classic movie women from the '80s can be a fun way to relive the decade and pay homage to your favourite '80s movies for a night.

John Hughes-Related

John Hughes practically ruled the '80s with his teen films that spawned the popularity of the Brat Pack. With films like "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty in Pink," Hughes conveyed universal high school problems to classic '80s soundtracks. Molly Ringwald often played the lead character in his films, so dressing as any of her characters can fulfil your '80s movie costume needs. Most of her characters wore baggy sweaters and slouchy boots in softer colours like pink or cream. Other Hughes ladies include tomboy Watts from "Some Kind of Wonderful," who often wore a T-shirt with a dark vest over it, and Allison from "The Breakfast Club," the requisite '80s goth girl who dressed in oversized black clothes.

Alex Owens

Jennifer Beals immortalised the character Alex Owens in the 1983 film "Flashdance" and ensured a place in the Halloween costume hall of fame. The iconic scene that tends to dominate costume choices for Alex involves donning a baggy grey sweatshirt with the neckline cut so that the shirt hangs off the shoulder. Wear this with a pair of short shorts or leggings, plus leg warmers for the full dancer look. During this scene, Alex ends her dance by dumping water on herself, so if you want to be ambitious with your costume, throw some water on yourself or carry around a spray bottle to look moist.

Alex Forrest

Another '80s Alex, this time from the film "Fatal Attraction," makes a good movie costume for women. Alex's most well-known look from the film involves a white long-sleeve dress, preferably with a boat neckline. Glenn Close's hair from the film was big, wild and curly blonde, so a wig will help with that look if your natural hair doesn't have that look. Alex's cruel and unusual treatment of a pet rabbit in the film gave her character notoriety, so to make sure people recognise you, carry around a stuffed rabbit in a large cooking pot.

Elvira Hancock

While the men gravitate toward Tony Montana costumes from the 1983 film "Scarface," women can look to Michelle Pfeiffer's Elvira Hancock, Tony's wife. Elvira wore a number of different costumes throughout the film, so to pull off the look, simply look for tight-fitting, shimmery '80s-style dresses. Look for dresses without sleeves, such as halter dresses or spaghetti straps. Add some sparkling jewels and top the look off with a blonde bob wig with fringe.

Princess Leia

Princess Leia from the "Star Wars" universe may not have particularly exciting costumes in the first two "Star Wars" films, but her look in "Return of the Jedi" has become one of the more popular '80s female costumes, particularly with convention-goers. The slave Leia look, as it's known, consists of a gold metal bra and a brown skirt with sides left open, supported by more gold metal. Leia sports a gold snake armband and a high, braided ponytail. Some costume wearers wear a chain around the ankle as well to complete the look.

Scream Queens

If you're looking for a costume to scare the trousers off other guests, dress as one of a plethora of '80s scream queens. With so many horror movies released during this decade, choosing just one look may be difficult. One of the bigger movies of the decade, "A Nightmare on Elm Street," offers multiple looks to recreate. Dress as lead heroine Nancy, complete with '80s preppy clothing and a dark wig with her signature white streak of hair. Or dress as Tina, either in her bloody, shredded nightgown or wrapped up in a plastic dress bag to mimic a body bag. Other options include dressing as Elvira, Jason Voorhees' mother, a werewolf from "The Howling" or little Carol Anne from "Poltergeist."

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About the Author

Ticara Gailliard is a college graduate with a degree in communications/film and video production from the University of Memphis. She has been a writer for over 15 years and has been published in local writing magazines such as "Grandmother Earth." She also edited two books for her high school.